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N.Y. Lawmakers End 2016 Session

Hans Pennink

New York lawmakers wrapped up the 2016 legislative session at around 5 a.m. Saturday morning, agreeing to take steps to cancel the pensions of convicted lawmakers in the future, legalizing daily fantasy sports and extending New York City’s mayoral control law for another year.

In an all-night session, legislators took the first step to change the state’s constitution to require lawmakers convicted of a felony to forfeit their pensions. This is in answer to public outcry over dozens of senators and assemblymembers, including the two former leaders of the legislature, keeping healthy pensions even though many have been sentenced to prison. Reform groups say Governor Cuomo and legislators did the bare minimum to answer the Capitol’s corruption wave.

In the final hours of the session, legislators also agreed to extend mayoral control over New York City schools another year, after Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed, among other things, to allow some high performing charter schools to be regulated by the state, not the city.

Schools will also be required to test their drinking water for lead. And New Yorkers made sick from chemicals in a Superfund site will have an additional three years to sue.

Legislators also moved to extend drinking and gambling in New York. Alcohol will be available at 10 a.m. on Sundays, and if signed by the governor, daily fantasy sports betting will become legal.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.
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